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TOWIE star Bobby Norris and Love Island contestant Montana Brown have said it is “tone deaf” for influencers to post glamorous pictures from overseas travel during the pandemic.
Dozens of social media influencers and reality TV stars have shared pictures of themselves escaping to sunnier climes during the winter lockdowns, with some designating these getaways as “essential work trips”.
There has been severe criticism of these trips, with Love Island’s Anton Danyluk revealing he had received death threats since he jetted to Dubai.
Norris, who has been a part of the TOWIE cast since 2012, said the constant parade of reality stars sunning themselves on beaches is causing other influencers to be “tarred with the same brush”.
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He told Metro: “It’s completely tone deaf, in my opinion, to be posting some of the content I have seen.
“I just personally don’t feel, from the public, that there is any appetite to see people on the beach or having a lovely old time.”
Norris has trained to become a volunteer vaccinator to support the NHS in rolling out the jab, having caught the virus himself over Christmas.
He said: “I wanted to volunteer and do something. I wasn’t sure in what capacity, or what I could do, but I knew I had some spare time on my hands – I was on a break from filming TOWIE.”
The 34-year-old star also pointed to other influencers, such as Love Islander Dr Alex George, who have used their platform for good during the pandemic.
Brown, meanwhile, defended her own decision to fly to Barbados before Christmas, stating she did so to see family and has since stayed put.
The 25-year-old, who competed on Love Island in 2017, told The Sun on Sunday her travel was legal and that she hadn’t received much hate online as a result.
She said: “I do think it is insensitive and irresponsible to put on social media that you’re partying or with a large group of people, as it’s rightly seen as wrong by people who are losing family members and losing their businesses.
“A lot of people’s worlds are crashing down around them. We have a social responsibility to stick to the guidelines in some capacity and just be aware that other people are going through hell.”
Brown said it would be safest for her to stay put in Barbados now and obey restrictions, rather than flying back to the UK.
The star is also setting up her swimwear company while staying on the Caribbean island.
Read more: Zara Holland avoids jail after Barbados trip
The British government recently added the United Arab Emirates to its list of high-risk countries, banning all flights to and from the country, except for UK nationals returning home — who will have to self-isolate on arrival.
Some have blamed British tourists for the increase in COVID-19 cases in Dubai.
Watch: Tourists flock to Dubai amid coronavirus lockdowns